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Chester County Press

U-CF School Board votes to eliminate decile ranking

04/01/2016 10:24AM ● By J. Chambless

The Unionville-Chadds Ford School Board.

By John Chambless
Staff Writer

After hearing months of sometimes emotional testimony on both sides of the issue, the Unionville-Chadds Ford School Board on March 28 voted to drop decile ranking for Unionville High School students.

The rankings, which were formerly supplied on transcripts for college applications, were seen as a detriment to students with very high grade point averages who nevertheless did not fall within the top two or three points of their class. In the past several months, the board has heard from dozens of parents who wanted to keep the rankings as a way of giving their children a leg up in the college admissions process, and from students and parents who said the rankings kept worthy students out of the race. Several surrounding school districts have stopped issuing decile ranks for their students. Several former Unionville students reported that colleges are turning away from strict numbers and looking more for a well-rounded student profile in their admission decisions.

The board voted 7 to 2 to end the decile reporting, and will instead offer ranges of GPA scores on college applications.

Board members Robert Sage and Michael Rock voted against eliminating the decile rankings. Rock said that the GPA distribution plan devised by the administration is basically the same thing as providing decile ranking. Sage felt that top students should be rewarded for their work.

As part of the compromise, the board said they would discuss including the single top GPA of each year's class in the school profile. The matter will be discussed in April. Students in the top 5 percent of their class will be recognized at the graduation ceremony as “Principal Scholars.” All students with a GPA of 4.0 or higher will be recognized in the commencement program. All the changes will be made for the class of 2017.

A less controversial issue was approved as the board voted unanimously to continue the successful pilot program for using Chromebooks at Patton Middle School. Beginning next year, all students in the school will get one of the notebook devices to use in class and at home. After lengthy debate over the past several meetings, the board said parents will have three options:

– Buying a Chromebook at cost from the district (about $266) and owning the device. The cost will include insurance.

  • Students can also be issued a Chromebook to take home during the school year, while the district retains ownership of the device. The fee will be $20 for insurance against loss or damage. The units will be returned to the school at the end of the year.

  • Students could also get a district-owned Chromebook and take the device home during the year, free of charge. There will be no insurance, so families will be responsible for loss or damage.

To contact Staff Writer John Chambless, email jchambless@chestercounty.com.

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